Chamber Channels 
 
A PUBLICATION OF THE AFFILIATED CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD
Serving Agawam, East Longmeadow/Longmeadow, Hampden/Wilbraham, Ludlow, Springfield, West Springfield
 
July 2008
In This Issue
Golf Dates
Upcoming Events
Our Sponsors 

 
Hampden Bank

Health New England

Quick Links
Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, Inc.
 
1441 Main Street, 
Suite  136
Springfield, MA 01103 
 
413-787-1555

Welcome to the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, Inc.'s (ACCGS) first electronic newsletter! 

 

     On behalf of the ACCGS' Board of Directors and its membership, I am pleased to introduce you to the first ACCGS electronic newsletter which will appear every other month with the alternating month being the printed Chamber Channels which so many of you are used to receiving.  A number of years ago the ACCGS presented our new website www.myonlinechamber.com and the Board now believes it is appropriate that if we are going to encourage the use of technology by our members that the Chamber itself move to an every other month electronic newsletter.

 
     In February of this year we also introduced an updated version of our website which has new graphics and a more stylish format.  With additional changes over the next couple of months you will find our website a much more useful tool for registering for events, having the newsletter on line and finding more information about legislative issues that impact your business.
 
     I encourage you to forward this newsletter to your colleagues and friends so that we can expand the coverage of Chamber Channels and they can be more aware of the programs we have and the efforts we are making on behalf of the Greater Springfield business community.
 
      I look forward to getting your feedback on the newsletter. Please forward any comments you may have directly to me at Denver@myonlinechamber.com.
 
Russell F. Denver
President, ACCGS
 
ACCGS logo
 
Chamber Consolidations
 
     In January of 2007, David Hobert, Senior Vice President of Sovereign Bank and until this past month Chairman of the ACCGS Board of Directors formed a Visioning Committee to study how the Chamber could conduct business more efficiently and provide greater benefits to its 1500 members. The committee had representatives from each of the seven Chambers and benchmarked the ACCGS against other Chambers of similar size and reviewed material about the 100 most successful business associations.  The committee concluded that the ACCGS should continue to focus on legislative efforts on behalf of the business community on at state and local level, provide networking opportunities for members, do more intelligence gathering and distribution of that intelligence to members and seek out opportunities for larger educational programming for members i.e. the Disney Institute, customer service training etc.
 
     The Visioning Committee and the ACCGS Board decided to that in order to accomplish these changes the amount of administrative responsibilities being done by the ACCGS Staff needed to be reduced. Therefore the ACCGS Board worked with the Agawam and West Springfield Chambers to consolidate into a West of the River Chamber doing business as the Agawam Chamber of Commerce/West Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The Board also worked with the Ludlow, Hampden/Wilbraham and East Longmeadow/Longmeadow Chambers to consolidate into a East of the River Chamber doing business in each community as the Ludlow Chamber of Commerce, Hampden/Wilbraham Chamber of Commerce and the East Longmeadow/Longmeadow Chamber of Commerce.
 
     In order to accomplish the consolidations 2/3 of each of the members in each Chamber needed to approve the consolidation.  I am pleased to inform you that this has occurred and as of right now the legal Documents are being prepared and filed with the Secretary of State of Massachusetts. We will then have two new organizations; the East of the River Chamber and the West of the River Chamber.  There will be two Board of Directors where there previously had been five. Both Chambers will be affiliated with the ACCGS so those member companies will continue to receive ACCGS benefits by way of legislative efforts, communication and networking opportunities.
 
     You will now be seeing Chamber staff being much more visible in each community and providing briefings about what is going on each community such as: new construction both residential and commercial, new businesses that have moved in, businesses that may have closed, and new infrastructure projects being planned (roads and sewers).  Chamber staff will also be available to discuss new legislation that effects business and how you can be involved in impacting that legislation.  They will also report on trends in employment and wealth creation all in an effort to provide more benefits to Chamber members.
 
     I wish to thank Al Bryant of H.L. Dempsey Company who will be the first Chairman of the West of the River Board of Directors and David Leslie of Glenmeadow Retirement Community who will be the first Chairman of the East of the River Chamber of Commerce.  Please remember that there will continue to be Chamber events in each of the communities represented by the ACCGS and there will continue to be local identity, and each city or town will have a Town Relations Committee.  The Town Relations Committee will deal with issues impacting the individual community but additionally have the comfort in knowing that when they bring issues to the combined Boards that there will be information shared on how other Chamber communities  have handled similar issues.
 
     This is a new and exciting opportunity and we urge all members to be involved.  If you should have any questions about the consolidations, please feel free to contact me directly at 413-755-1304.

 

 
Legislative Update

Legislative-Statehouse

 
     While this month is the last month for formal sessions at the State House, the federal government remains in full swing into the fall.
 
     Congressman Richard Neal has been working with the Chamber on a Washington Symposium and I strongly urge you to give serious consideration to attending.
 
     The Congressman has hosted these symposiums in the past and he  puts together a full two days of top speakers from the House, Senate, and Administration. It is a very rare opportunity to listen to and have dialogue with key decision makers of our country.
 
     This year's symposium is being held from September 17 - 19. We are departing from Bradley Airport on the 17th at 8:55 AM and returning on Friday, September 19th at 3:05 PM. All arrangements for parking, ground transportation, hotel, meals and receptions are being finalized now. While an exact cost is not yet available, based upon the last trip's cost (in 2004) the cost will be around $950.00. Please contact Jeff Ciuffreda at ciuffreda@myonlinechamber.com or by calling directly at 755-1312 for exact details. Thanks to sponsorships from the Westfield State College Foundation and Comcast, an extra reception and other activities will be included.
 
     Due to the need to book in advance, seating is very limited and is already filling with past participants; therefore you are encouraged to book now. Those past participants know of the quality of the speakers Congressman Neal gets for this seminar and that this year, so important in the future of the country, will be no different.

     Back to the state house. The formal session ends on July 31, 2008 and therefore most serious pieces of legislation must be completed by that date. The Chambers efforts have been outlined previously and a letter has been sent to all legislators expressing the Chambers position on several bills. You can see the details of that letter on the chambers web site; www.myonlinechamber.com under the legislative advocacy page.
 
     Now is the time for you to weigh in on these important bills. Opposing the Nurse to Patient Ratio legislation in the Senate is crucial as its passage would have a serious negative effect on one of our vital economic sectors and would also add to increased health care costs, exactly the opposite of what is needed now; containing these costs. Drastic changes to the CORI laws are being discussed and the Chamber feels these might actually make it more difficult for businesses to give a person with a past criminal record the benefit of the doubt and employ them. Mandating seven paid sick days is another bill and the Chamber opposes this. That bill is an intrusion of government into the negotiated working conditions set between an employer and employee. 

     Those are just a few of the many bills that will be pushed by some through the legislative process in the very short time frame left this year. Your input in supporting or opposing bills is essential. The Chamber will be sending out several emails on specific pieces of legislation to its members over the next four weeks.

 
golfGolf Dates
 
     The Affiliated Chambers of Commerce Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday, July 10th at Crestview Country Club.  The price of $150.00 per golfer includes greens fee, cart, lunch, snacks on the course, Aprés Golf, prizes and a souvenir picture. The Golf Tournament is made possible through the generous support of: Presenting Sponsor: Health New England.  For information regarding other sponsorship opportunities contact Diane Swanson, Events Manager, at 755-1313    or swanson@myonlinechamber.com.
 
     The East Longmeadow/Longmeadow Annual Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, July 28th at the Elmcrest Country Club.  This is the fifteenth year that proceeds from the scramble format tournament will benefit the Cheryl Reed Wallace Memorial Scholarship Program.  Funds from the program support the Chamber's education, business programs, and student scholarships in both East Longmeadow and Longmeadow.  For $125.00 enjoy 18 holes of golf with cart, prizes, a barbecue lunch and dinner. 
 
     The 5th Annual Agawam Golf Tournament will be held on Wednesday, August 20th at the Oak Ridge Golf Club.  Proceeds from the scramble format tournament will benefit the Agawam High School Scholarship Fund.  The cost per golfer is $100.00 and includes 18 holes of golf with cart, prizes, lunch and a banquet dinner. 

     The Ludlow Chamber of Commerce 15th Annual "Golf for Kids" Tournament will be held on Monday, September 22nd at the Ludlow Country Club.  Proceeds from this scramble format tournament benefit the Ludlow Chamber of Commerce education initiatives which include scholarships for Ludlow High School seniors.  For the entry fee of $110.00, enjoy 18 holes of golf with cart, prizes, buffet lunch and dinner. 
 
     The Hampden/Wilbraham Golf Classic will take place on Friday, October 3rd at the Country Club of Wilbraham.  Proceeds from the Golf Classic will be used for scholarships and to benefit the Minnechaug Regional High School Entrepreneurial Program.  This program, a collaboration with Springfield Technical Community College's Entrepreneurial Institute, the Public School Systems of Western Massachusetts, and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, gives students at Minnechaug Regional High School the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to start and maintain a small business.  The fee of $110.00 includes 18 holes of golf with cart, prizes, buffet lunch and a cocktail party reception. 
 
     For more information on sponsorship opportunities in the East Longmeadow/Longmeadow, Agawam, Ludlow, and Hampden/Wilbraham golf tournaments, contact Affiliate Coordinator Sylvia Poole at 755-1318 or by email at poole@myonlinechamber.com.
 
ACCGS Calendar 
July 10 ~ ACCGS Golf Tournament, Crestview Country Club, Agawam, $150 per player, Shotgun start at 12:00 p.m.
 
July 11 ~ ACCGS Legislative Steering Committee, TD Banknorth Conference Room, 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
 
July 28 ~ East Longmeadow/Longmeadow Golf Tournament, Elmcrest Country Club, East Longmeadow, $125 per player, Shotgun at 12:45 p.m.
 
August 8 ~ ACCGS Legislative Steering Comittee, TD Banknorth Conference Room, 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
 
August 20 ~ Agawam Golf Tournament, Oak Ridge Golf Club, Agawam, $100 per player, Shotgun at 12:00 p.m.